Hundreds of the Bundy family neighbors have been pushed out of ranching, a profession and culture the families shared with generations of their ancestors, by the federal government slowly restricting more and more of the usage of federal lands. The Bundy family has held on—but holding on meant ignoring the rule of law, as much as they would argue that the federal government has ignored the rule of law.
And right here is where the knee-jerk “law and order” types screw up.
The law is like any other weapon: Its nature depends upon its use. The law can be used to protect liberty – our Constitution and Bill of Rights, supposedly the highest law in our land – are a good example of this function of the law.
Conversely, the law can be, and often is, used as an agency of tyranny. All tyrants know and understand this. They control their legal systems, and use that control to make their every tyrannical desire and action legal, their every depredation against liberty and decency entirely lawful.
How happy that must make the law-and-order types: They murdered the father, raped the mother, sold the children into slavery, and took everything they had, but it was entirely legal. Oh, good. No problem, then.
It was, for instance, entirely illegal for the Founding Fathers to lead a revolution against England. Had they lost, they would have been hung, and their hangings would have been absolutely legal under English law.
Yet England’s actions, though entirely lawful, were also entirely tyrannical. The Founders did not worship the law per se: the worshipped liberty and hated tyranny. So they broke the tyrannical law wholesale, and waged war upon the tyrannical lawmakers to further their own liberty.
And after they won, they wrote new laws intended to guarantee individual liberty over tyrannical law.
So for me, the issue herein isn’t whether Bundy broke the law. Of course he did. But the law in this case (as in so many others) is both an ass and an enabler of tyranny. If you respect tyrannical law above all else, then you respect tyranny above all else. And if you respect tyranny, tyranny you will get.
A tyranny you will deserve.
One last thought: The Founders resisted the tyranny of British law with their own personal firearms. What happened with the Bundy standoff is a case study on why the Second Amendment guarantees the right of individual Americans to keep and bear arms in self-defense, defense of their nation, and defense of their liberties against tyranny.